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Friday Links: Strange Alliances, CDC study on sex, Kobo problems

Friday Links: Strange Alliances, CDC study on sex, Kobo problems

First up, no deals today, just the news.
I don’t publish this to promote this deal but to share with the reading audience one of the strangest things I have received in my inbox (and trust me, I see a lot of crazy stuff there from more books about dumpster love to velvet Elvis loving). But, I don’t even … Maybe you all can explain it to me:
Hope you’re doing well!
I am working with S—V—n, the anti-aging expert in skin care, around the launch of the first ever Virtual Book Club on Facebook! Partnering at the launch with HarperCollins, S—V—n is offering a new way for readers to come together socially and take part in discussions around great books. The S—V—n Book Club not only allows users to create profiles, share reading lists, and join in discussions with other readers but also participate in live question and answer sessions with popular authors – all within the Facebook community!
I am kind of dumbfounded, but maybe this is just brilliant?  Thoughts? [Edited to add I removed some of the letters to lessen the spam]


BN stock v Amazon stock over 10 years

Yesterday I said that BN was privately owned but it is not. Of course it is publicly shared and I should have known that. Interestingly, yesterday Chris Kubica tweeted the 10 year performance of Amazon stock versus BN stock.  Egads. It’s not the share price but the company’s stagnancy.


i09 has been hitting it out the park of late. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece they did on the Incan economy and then they bring to our attention that the CDC is doing sex surveys. People are loving their anal sex, folks.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, which surveyed thousands of people between the ages of 15 and 44 in 2006-2008, anal sex is really popular with heterosexuals. 44 percent of straight men report having anal sex at least once in their lives, and 36 percent of straight women do too. Though more straight men than women were enjoying anal sex, women were enjoying gay sex more. Twice as many women (12%) reported having homosexual sex at least once in their lifetimes compared with men (5.8%).

Anal sex used to be a staple of erotic romance but I guess it isn’t edgy if everyone is doing it?  (Still, better than a club scene, right?)


In the seriously cool news, Personanondata pointed out an article from May 2011 that reported on how infrared satellite technology is revealing underground cities. The use of this technology may be leading to some of the biggest archeological finds of the century.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.



In uncool news, Darrel Issa has put forward a bill that is intended to strengthen the grip of private publishers over scholarly research which, in my opinion, flies in direct conflict with the charge of the copyright grant.

[The Research Works Act] bill would prohibit all federal agencies from putting any privately published articles into an online database, even — and this is the kicker — those articles based on research funded by the public if they have received “any value-added contribution, including peer review or editing” from a private publisher.

According to the article, NIH “public-access policy, which requires authors who receive any NIH funding to contribute their work to PubMed Central within 12 months of publication” is opposed by the American Association of Publishers who issued a support in statement of the bill.


HBO is pulling its content from Netflix. No more streaming HBO produced DVDs. I’m not an HBO subscriber and I can’t wait to cut the cable cord and start selecting (and paying for) content a la carte but I know there is a hardcore fan base for HBO content. HBO declares that non-HBO subscribers will never have content on digital platforms:

Back in November, HBO co-president Eric Kessler stated to industry leaders that HBO shows would not ever be available to non-HBO subscribers on digital platforms.

I don’t know if that is streaming only because there is quite a bit of HBO content that is available through purchase via iTunes, albeit after a huge time delay. According to this article HBO is one of the most torrented networks, likely because there is no legal alternative. Other networks and movie studios are increasing the time windows between the DVD release and the digital streaming release in an effort to boost DVD sales.


Nate asks if your Kobo books are looking like crap. I know that this is a big problem for some of our readers. Apparently Kobo places a wrapper around epubs which can cause all kinds of formatting problems. Kobo, unfortunately, has terrible customer service.  In any event, Nate is looking for people who are having Kobo book problems.

REVIEW: The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway

REVIEW: The Other Guy’s Bride by Connie Brockway

Dear Ms. Brockway,

When I found out the news that this story is about Harry and Dizzy’s daughter, I was initially excited. Until I sat and thought for a minute and realized that it’s been so long since I read “As You Desire” that I have absolutely no recollection of it and its two principals at all. With that in mind, when I sat down to read “The Other Guy’s Bride,” I did it as if it’s a stand alone book about a bunch of people I’ve never encountered before which turned out to work just fine.

The Other Guy's Bride	Connie BrockwayGinesse Braxton is the eldest child and – so far – only daughter of famed Egyptologists. She’s been raised around the subject and in Egypt for most of her life and feels the burden of “proving herself” in a famous family. She also seems to attract trouble where ever she goes and whatever she does to the point that her exasperated parents finally sent her back to England where she’s finished a degree in ancient history at Cambridge. It’s while studying some ancient texts there that she came across clues that might lead her to the ancient lost city of Zerzura. This! she feels might be her redemption and chance to establish herself in the field of Egyptology – if only she can work out how to get there.

Taking her fate in her own hands, she sets off for Egypt where she meets a fellow passenger with a spectacular case of mal de mer who is traveling to Egypt to marry a British Army officer stationed at an outpost not far from where Ginesse feels her lost city might be found. The officer, Colonel Lord Pomfrey, is to send a troupe of soldiers, lead by a man he describes as a scoundrel, to escort his betrothed after she arrives in Cairo. But poor Mildred can’t take another minute of sea travel and in this, Ginesse sees her chance. Talking the young woman into disembarking and taking the long scenic route to Egypt by train – and I’m thinking it’s going to be a long trip from Italy around the Mediterranean to Egypt – Ginesse travels on under Mildred’s name where she meets Jim Owens who has been charged to bring Mildred to her fiance.

Jim is the scoundrel Pomfrey describes him as but he’s got quite a backstory which includes being indebted to Pomfrey which is something Jim is desperate to escape from. Doing travel duty across barren desert seems like a relatively easy way to pay it off until Jim starts to get to know his charge. She’s intelligent, willful, resourceful, can get into a scrape in the blink of an eye and seems to know a hell of a lot about a country she’s never set foot in. She’s also the most – to him – attractive woman he’s ever met and as the journey proceeds through various and assorted issues and problems, he’s finding that delivering another man’s bride might end up being the hardest thing he’s ever tried to do.

Before I really get started talking about the book, I have to get some name issues off my chest. Ginesse. At first glance I debated, “Hard G? Soft G? Hard G or soft G? How the hell do I mentally pronounce this? Finally I resolved on soft G because I didn’t want to think of drinking in an Irish pub the whole time I was reading the book. Then there are two secondary characters Magi and her nephew Haji. Sorry but the two names together sound like a comedy team. But I digress.

The first part of the book is interesting. I like the character set ups and watching Ginesse manage things to her own satisfaction. She’s supposed to be intelligent and she acts that way. She’s supposed to be inquisitive and imaginative and, again, that’s how she acts and what she does. Watching her overcome the obstacles in her path is fun. Jim isn’t really so much of a scoundrel as he is a man who’s had a tough road in life but who has fought to maintain his sense of self, to live life on his own terms and not be trapped by the circumstances of it. He has a deep sense of honor about this debt he owes Pomfrey and as Ginesse gets into various predicaments, I can almost see him grinding his teeth as he’ keeps on keeping on’ to get her where she’s supposed to go and off his hands.

But then comes the lusting. Lots of lusting. On into the desert and more lusting which then changes to standard “No, no we can’t do this. Wait, let me tilt my head so you can kiss my neck better. ” During this section I lost the feel for the Edwardian Egypt setting and felt I was trapped in any number of historical romance books I’ve read before.

Just as I was wondering if we’d ever get back to some interesting action, Ginesse and Jim are stupid with lust and let danger sneak up on them. Idiots. Now comes some good stuff with the Tuaregs and then! the rescue – which is sort of anticlimactic but okay if you want to downplay that I’ll go along. That is until the supremely stupid consummation scene. Yeah, he’s been worried and she’s been worried, for days, about what’s happening and going to happen but even with the slavers momentarily – momentarily! mind you – out of the picture that is NOT the time to give into their lust. And what happens then is more silly standard romance nonsense on Ginesse’s part – he didn’t say he loves me so I will deny my own love, turn him down and potentially face all the ruination that Jim has so thoughtfully laid out. WTF? I am so tired of this ” I won’t settle for 70 % if I think there’s 100% out there” romance heroine logic. He’s sure as hell not going to ever fall for you if you push him away and out of your life, is he? Sigh…

These push/pull interactions continue as everyone who needs to be there ends up at the army outpost then the mystery of the lost city of sorta solved, and along the way Ginesse discovers what is and really isn’t important to her about Egyptology. Now that is one part I feel is well done since the end of the book requires Ginesse to switch gears about what she wants from life. Often a romance heroine will – seemingly – toss out her life’s ambition once twue lurve hits her but here clues as to how she’s really feeling versus what she’s always felt she wants are laid out well enough that I can buy her ultimate decision regarding continuing the search for Zerzura. I also really like the humor and bantering dialogue from all – well most – of the characters throughout the book. And the fact that two characters – Mildred and Professor Tynesborough – don’t turn out anything like I initially thought they would.

My dislike of the fact that Ginesse won’t accept Jim’s many proposals until he says the magic three words is countered by the wonderful proposal he tenders to her once he realizes what the issue is. That whole scene in the cave as the sandstorm rages around them is wonderful – though I did wonder how the horse was handling the shirt over his eyes for the extended period of time. The slightly overdone romantic gestures back in Cairo and the Happy Family epilogue don’t light my fire but at least Jim now knows what his lady wants and he does deliver them.

So there are elements of the book I really do like while others leave me flat or with feelings of romance ennui. I think the book stands on its own merits and if readers either haven’t read “As You Desire” or if, like me, that book is a hazy, happy memory, I feel they’ll do just fine jumping into this one. Yeah for the Edwardian/Egyptian setting and thank you for the explanations of the liberties you took with things in the story and the fact that the facts you include in it don’t come off like a history lecture. B-


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